Wednesday, June 30, 2004

A Bittersweet Departure

Well, I'm off to Houston for the next week. It feels like I just got off the freaking plane from London, and off I go again to another time zone. Under normal terms, a visit to Houston would simply enliven my senses and soul thanks to the time I would spend with family, but, this time around, I'm afraid this visit has another theme...this might be the last time I get to see my grandfather alive...

I don't think I'll be updating at all for the next week, but, we'll see.

...Oh...before I forget...

I think I'm going to rejoin the evil Green Empire again for the rest of the summer(AKA: Starbucks). More on that another time.

Monday, June 28, 2004

The "Michael Moore School of Grudges"

Documentarian Michael Moore never really got over Bush's "election" as President in 2000.

The director behind "Roger and Me" and "Bowling for Columbine" consistently used his political clout to denounce President Bush's appointment as President by constantly naming him the "President-in-Thief."

While Michael Moore constantly attacked Bush and his policies, everyone knew that he was only giving us a taste of his disgust over the Bush Administration when he launched his anti-war tirade at the Oscars last year when his movie, "Bowling for Columbine" won the "Best Documentary" award. Though certainly offending, Moore's public display of disapproval for Bush certainly wasn't the last we were going to hear of Bush out of Moore's mouth.

Instead of laying it all on the line at that particular moment, he decided to let his anger fester, and waited for just the right moment and right medium to release it.

And that moment is now, months away from the Presidential Election. And that medium is Moore's new movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Almost since Bush took over the Oval Office in 2000, Moore has been collecting evidence slandering Bush, and taking advantage of the fact that our dear President isn't exactly the smartest of individuals. So, what do four years of film footage, government documents, interviews, and the disaster of 9/11, edited and put together by Moore in the humorous manner only he can provide, make? It makes, quite possibly, one of the greatest "pop-politics" movies ever made.

Yes, Moore isn't exactly the most likeable of individuals. He's abrasive, partisan, and at times, quite annoying, but, when placed in the same world we live in that's dominated by the bullshit broadcasted by right-wing media, he almost sounds like the lone voice of reason in a maelstrom of "conservative" and corporate nonsense. We desperately need his brand of exagerrative, liberal politics and filmmaking to counter the stuff pouring out at the opposite end of the political spectrum. You can't say his stuff is impartial, or even fair to his opponents, but god damnit, were his opponents fair to his allies? I don't think so.

With Moore's new movie leading the way, the battle between liberals and conservatives has actually become a war again, not a one-sided bashing being won by Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp. Empire.

If you're thinking this movie is like Bowling for Columbine, stop thinking that way. While I love BfC, from a movie-goer perspective, it did drag, particularly in the beginning. And Michael Moore did at times seem to be a bit too aggressive in trying to convey his point in that movie. But, in F 9/11, Moore takes a step back, gets off camera, and succeeds completely in making the documentary medium thoroughly interesting and gripping. And with events like 9/11 and the Iraqi War to draw from, Moore succeeds in creating tear-jerker moments. Bush, himself, is almost like the movie's constant punch-line, allowing the President to dig his own hole with well-edited clips of our main man in action. As I said, the movie isn't entirely fair, but, then again, neither is our news media, outside of the BBC.

So see it for yourself. Depending on your affection for our President, you'll either love it or hate it. Either way, it's going to reinforce the idea that we all should've learned from the last election.

We ALL need to vote. The stakes are too high for us not to.

Getting Back Into a "Ray" State of Mind

Slowly, but surely, my brand of mischief is hitting NYC.

As many of my friends outside of Syracuse have noted, I've been MIA for two years. It almost seems as if everyone I talk to who knew me in high school and doesn't go to Cuse has said something to the effect of, "you dropped off the face of the planet after your freshman year." While I do feel, in fact, that I've been "around' per se, between work, school, and Chiyo, it's true that I took a couple of steps away from my "normal" lifestyle. Parties became "whatever" affairs, friends became afterthoughts, and I lived to work. Yes, all was different in my little slice of the world.

But then came my trip to London. Got new surroundings, lost the girl, reinforced a friendship, and slowly, began to reclaim my life. The mischief and adventures started anew. Some verbal jousting here, ass-smacking there, a pinch of scamming, a good measure of liquor consumption, and of course, a hefty portion of getting lost with Michelle (with Gis as a special guest), combined to form a sliver of my old activities. Every week I spent in London was just another chance at making progress into reclaiming my life.

...But now...I'm not in London anymore...

I'm back home, in NYC. The first time I'm "home" for more than a week since the end of my freshman year...

...And I'm refreshed...;-)

Like, me, trying to sneak vodka into the Met with Anna and Sam. (And subsequently, teaching the philosophy behind the Fontebleu Ass Theory with a gusto and eloquence reserved for only the most die-hard of "art historians")

My yelling, "Timmmmbeeeerrrrr!" at Michelle. :-D

Or, stumbling through Washington Heights in a liquor-induced romp with ZuZu, Michelle, and Gis as we tried to make it to the train station to head to a club.

Or, getting all sweaty in aforementioned club, for the first time in two years.

Accompanying Vogue as she did laundry at one in the morning.

Whipping out "the Claw" every chance I can get.

Making fun of the ridiculous pick-up lines made by FOBs (Fresh of the Boaters) right in their faces.

And of course, grabbing my mother's clean underwear as I tried to parachute across my living room.

Ahh, yes...I'm back, somewhat...:-)

And you know what the secret is behind the "Ray" State of Mind?

Friends and Family. Two of the greatest gifts I could ever have. :-)

Friday, June 25, 2004

Blog Etiquette Rule #2

We all know that blogs are creative, online expressions of a writer's individual thoughts or ideas, but, that doesn't mean that certain, common-sense rules do not have to be followed when publishing entries. In continuing the "Blog Etiquette" series, here's Rule #2...

In case you need a refresh, click here for Rule #1

Rule #2: If you're going to copy or quote someone else's entry, make sure you give the original writer their due credit.

It's only fair, really. If you are running out of ideas for a blog entry, and you look to someone else's work for inspiration, make sure you give them their props. This includes blog topics that you wouldn't have come up with on your own without reading someone else's published work. Because, you know what it's called when you take someone else's ideas and don't give them credit for it? It's called plagiarism. Yes people, that word applies to work outside of school, as well.

Examples? I don't think I need to list examples...we ALL know who they are in each of our respective blog-reading circles. Someone needs to get the word out to get these people to STOP stealing ideas without credit, and give the proper person their due.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to hit me up!

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Top-10 Things I'll Miss / I Won't Miss from London

I noticed the differences between London and New York, or in a greater sense, the UK and the US, once I spent about five minutes outside of JFK, just fresh off my 7-hour flight home. While I’m happy to be home, there are some things that I’ll miss about the UK, and there are also some things I thank God I don’t have to deal with them when I’m home. The following are two lists; one containing the top-10 things I’ll desperately miss from London, and the other containing the 10 things I’d rather live without. Without further ado, here are the top-10’s!

Top 10 Things I’ll Miss About London

10) The cars seen on the streets of the city

It’s cool living in a place where it seems that everyone owns a BMW, Mercedes-Benz, a Porsche, or some derivative of a MINI. Oh yeah, and Aston Martins. And Jaguars. The occasional Bentley. And you can’t forget those “charming” Smart cars, either. I think the whole “anti-SUV” feeling in London is pretty cool, too. Because, seriously, what the hell do you need an SUV for in a city?

9) The fashion

Okay, to be honest with you, the fashion in England isn’t exactly all that. But, after being in Europe for six months, coming back home to see people in my neighborhood wearing baggy jeans and shirts that come down to their ankles makes me feel that I’ve stepped back in time to freaking 1998. Face it, urban fashion needs a fucking makeover in the States. Anyone wearing the “latest” Roc-A-Wear denims, Tims, and a t-shirt that comes down to their knees is a fucking fashion dinosaur. At least in London, they’re TRYING to change. And don’t tell me that the urban look “isn’t a fashion trend, it’s a movement.” Yeah, whatever, just like them gold/platinum teeth. Get something new, muthafuckas.

8) Bella Italia

Michelle and I know this restaurant all too well. Nuff said. (Also deserving of this slot: Khan’s Indian Restaurant…mmmmm….)

7) The Tube

I’ll miss that ol’ Underground. It’s the cleanest, most well-funded subway system I’ve been on, and while there are clear flaws with the system, nonetheless, you have to appreciate the innovations that the Underground has going for itself. I’ll especially miss those electric bulletin screens that let you know when the next train is coming, and how many minutes are left till the train arrives to the station.

6) London Taxis

The black cabs of London are charming, to say the least, and an inseparable part of London city life. These babies fit 5 people in the back, and, get this, take credit cards. Good shit! And the drivers are always up for some good conversation, especially if they think that you’re an American. Whooo boy…J

5) The Museums

One of the best parts about visiting and living in London is that the major museums are free to enter. The number of world-class museums in London is simply amazing, and it’s a joy to know that it doesn’t cost much of anything at all to be entertained and to learn something new. The five best museums of London are the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery, the British Museum, the Tate Modern, and the interesting Imperial War Museum, though there are plenty of others that are excellent, as well.

4) The drinking age

I go from being in a place where no one cares whether or not I drink, to a city where they freaking ID you for everything. Liquor became an unquestionable part of my life in London, and now, I have to go through withdrawal as I return to a country with a silly drinking age restriction at 21. (Then again, fuck withdrawal, I’m getting the goods anyway.) Five more months till I’m legal… How the fuck can you die for your country at 18, but you can’t drink? It’s so fucking stupid. Long live England!

3) The English Accent (and being one of the few Americans from SU to understand it)

It was just cool. Now, I’m back to hearing the New Yorker accent, which is cool, too. I can live without the Long Island accent, though.

2) The “Tuck and Roll” off of “Routemaster” double-decker buses.

It’s a Londoner trait to be able to hop off a still-moving, open-back, double-decker bus, and smoothly glide your way onto the pavement. Called the “tuck and roll,” if not executed properly, one can embarrassingly bust their ass as they step off the moving bus, completely subject to the forces of gravity and momentum. By the end of my stay, I was able to pull off the Tuck and Roll so well, tourists ALWAYS stopped me to ask for directions to Buckingham Palace, or to Harrod’s.

1) British Media

From the “Page 3” girls of the Sun , to the special documentaries on BBC 2, British media, flat out, puts American media to shame in sheer informativeness, entertainment, uniqueness, and personality. BBC News, for example, would rather spend the time needed to get a story across, than to get time to air commercials. The Independent contains some of the best news stories available in journalism. And of course, there’s Big Brother, replete with cursing, nudity, and occasional violence. (Blows away the American version by far). British commercials are also excellent, as well. Let me put it to you like this…I only had three channels to watch in my flat; BBC 1, BBC 2, and Channel Four, and I had more enjoyment watching those television channels than I did in Syracuse with the 40 or so channels we have available there.

Top 10 Things I Won’t Miss About London

10) The traffic

God, that traffic is atrocious. That’s the only city I’ve ever been to where the traffic is actually right up there with NYC’s.

9) No air-conditioning on Tube and London Buses

It wasn’t a big deal during the winter months I was there, but, boy, towards the end, London Transport’s stance on air-conditioning was bloody archaic. They couldn’t even put fans in the muthafuckas. And both buses and trains get REAL crowded. Good lord.

8) Drunk Brits after 11:30 PM

I’ve never seen a group of people so loud and obnoxious as Londoners when they’re drunk. It’s almost as if it’s expected of them to start a fight with you once they’re drunk.

7) Underage, older-looking girls

The chronicles of my bad luck with underage girls have become the stuff of legend during my stay in London. Now that I’m back home, I can finally look at a girl, and almost be dead right that a girl is the age she looks like.

6) Traditional British Menus

Haggis? Eel? Fish n Chips? No fucking thank you. Just give me the chips, thank you.

5) My flat

I sure as hell won’t miss the ants, (“letter of the day!”), the stuffiness, and the coldness of my flat in London. And I especially won’t miss my landlord. The bastard.

4) British milk

Imagine having milk that curdled consistently, on the very DATE of expiration. What kind of shit is that? I had cheese in my fridge a week after the milk was delivered to the supermarket. Other than that annoying factor, the milk was good.

3) Pubs closing at 11:30PM

It’s extremely weird and anal of Brits to have pubs close at 11:30 PM. It’s almost as if they really don’t believe in promoting a nightlife.

2) Tube stops running at midnight

This is related to the previous one. What kind of shit is that? A major city’s transportation network stops running at midnight?! Only buses are available when the Underground closes. Thank god the the NYC Subway System!

1) The horrible freaking exchange rate.

Finally, now that I’m back home, I have my original buying power. No more will I stare at my bank account helplessly as the exchange rate makes minced meat of my finances. 2 dollars for every 1 pound? Fuck that shit.

Hello Big Cars and New York...

Surprisingly, I haven’t been hit by a car yet.

I’m back in NYC, and slowly, I’m getting readjusted to life in America. Cars are bigger, streets are wider, and people are ignorant as fuck. Still, it is a place I call home, and despite my wonderful experience out in the UK, nothing can beat that sentimental feeling of being home.

My flight back home was alright. Watched a couple of movies, got to read a little bit, and chatted up some girl from Rochester. This little bastard kid kept on crying every once in a while, but, it wasn’t anything a little parental discipline couldn’t handle. (Discipline, as in, you talk mad loudly about how “annoying” the kid is, forcing the parents, embarrassed, to take desperate measures against the offending pest. AKA: Ass-whuppin)

My momma and her new boyfriend picked me up at JFK, along with ZuZu, which was pretty cool. She spent the night at my apartment, as we caught up on the events in each other’s lives from over the past six months. It was great chattin her up, and just chillin with her again reminded me of just why she’s one of the best friends I have. J

So what have I been doing the past couple of days? Well, I’ve been trying to sleep, schedule meeting times with friends, and eatin good food. Oh yeah, baby, that’s the life. That life is going to stop pretty soon, though; I have to get that coveted J-O-B. Wish me luck on that shit.

I’m still stuck on a few things from England, such as logging into the BBC News website, hoping to get a great look at the events of the world from a British point of view, or checking out the results of the Euro 2004 football tournament, particularly seeing if England could rebound from its heartbreaking loss to France in the opening game of the tourney. I don’t think I’ll lose those habits, which is good, in a way.

Speaking of the BBC, I found this article about the National Archives uncovering a letter from a 12-year old Fidel Castro to President Roosevelt, asking him for a $10 bill. Ain’t that some shit? If you haven’t heard this story, check out this link:

…I’m getting back on an airplane next week. I’m heading down to Houston to see my family down there, specifically, my grandfather, who suffered a stroke last month. While I wish for the best, I fear that my window of time to see him alive is closing. It’s going to be a sad day, to say the least, when he passes away. I look forward to seeing him while I still have the chance.

And, unfortunately, on that note, I head out. I have to get on the ball with looking for a job…


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

...And suddenly, no more BBC or "Big Brother"...

It just seems like it all came too soon, as if I picked up a brand new book, opened it up, read the first paragraph, and then skipped to the last page to find out what happened in the end...

My time in London has officially come to a close. With less than 24 hours left before I head out, I'm a tad ambivalent over my desires to leave. One side of me wants to come home to see everyone again, but there's another part of me that doesn't want to leave because, simply put, I've loved every bit of my experience here. I got myself all immersed in the culture, and now for me to leave when I was just finally breaking in the way I had wanted to when I first got here almost seems like I cooked this big meal and can't even get a little taste of it. (I also really don't want to miss Big Brova!) Many people ar elike, "Ray, don't worry, you can always come back," but they'll never be under these same pretenses. I don't know if I'll ever have the chance to live in London again.Therefore, it is because of that uncertainty that I am taking in every moment.

I'm happy that I was able to share my experiences with you guys. :-) I hope you enjoyed reading them.

...On my last day, I was able to meet up with a friend from Cuse, who had come abroad through a separate SU Study-Abroad program that gives students the ability to tour 7 countries in Europe in one month. (Michelle: Lim is mad that you didn't tell her that I was staying, lol) We hung out and ate some Indian food, which she has boldly declared to be the best tasting food she had in a long time. (Gotta love Khan's, baby) She was telling me though, that after dealing with SU students for a month, she's ready to go home. I'm like, try dealing with them for the five months I had. She said of all the places she's visited, she enjoyed Paris the most. ("Le Charrrggee!") I even got her into Big Brother, so she's now become a dedicated fan for the three days she's got remaining.

Towards the end of the night, she was watchin TV with me and a couple of other chicks, when this show came on that featured plenty of sex. I sat there amused over how the girls were appalled that so much nudity and sexual activity was taking place on regular, local television at 10 o'clock. "What about the kids!" they screamed.

"It's the UK, guys. A little roast beef behind the knooker don't hurt anyone, mate." :-)

"Remember my words when you go off whizzing about the world in search of a quick toss; London is the greatest city in all of Europe, and quite possibly, the greatest city in the world. And the more you travel, the more you will agree."

-Professor Richard Tames, first day of classes in London.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

An Ode to the Inimitable, Michelle :-)

"Damn,the shots that you take at her, you'd think she was devil incarnate."


Nah, chill with that one. The 'devil incarnate,' she ain't. That mofo is too ugly to be Michelle. (Watch the controversial movie, "Passion of the Christ" to see who I mean. Either that, or just look at that chick from the UK show, "Big Brother,Nadia") No, instead of that mean little red guy from beneath the surface of the Earth, Michelle is actually worse. She's just 'Michelle.' :-)

All jokes aside, the past six months I've spent with Michelle here in London have collectively formed, quite possibly, one the most memorable and eventful time periods in my life, and to be honest with you, I don't think I could think of another person I could've spent my time with out here. It really wouldn't have been the same without her around, and it's for that reason, I can say with all my heart that I wouldn't have wanted to spend my time in London with anyone else. From the relatively humble beginnings of our friendship at the Cuse in Sadler Dining Hall (god, that awful food), the friendship between that girl and myself has grown considerably, and certainly, our relationship has become even closer than it ever has been. So much so, that Michelle has officially become one of the very few remaining girls in my life that can actually make me all sentimental. (Not an easy thing to do anymore) I know that many times, my actions or words may not reflect that special status that she holds within my life, but, she knows that she's like one of the four people that I can call "Bitch," or "Dumb Ass" and mean something genuinely affectionate.

Still, don't mistake this for me getting all mushy on that bitch or anything, though. :-)

Michelle: My "soul-mate." My pseudo-wife. My "70%" I'm going to miss you the next few days I have left in London. It's been a great time I've had here with you. I'll never forget the time we spent together as roommates. And I'll never forget the time where, even if it was for six months, at the very least I could call you my "best friend." As I stare at your empty bed right now, I thank that nameless wonder in the sky for letting me find someone like you. Though you are gone now, and I will no longer find you lazily lounging on that bed of yours, complaining that you're tired when you've slept more than half a freaking day, I can take comfort over the fact that, at the very least, I can at least see you back in NYC. :-)

So, yah, thank you for being here in London with me. With the two of us together, these Brits ain't know what hit 'em. :-)

Oh! I can finally formally declare something now that Michelle is off and about back the New York...

Despite spending 152 days with Michelle in the same flat, inside the same room, even, we are pleased to announce that despite what so many people bet otherwise, WE DID NOT MESS AROUND WITH ONE ANOTHER . So, we disproved the whole notion that a girl and a guy cannot live with each other exclusively without getting it on. As Michelle so eloquently put it, "we're not weak-minded like you, bitch." So there you have it, folks. Just in case you were wondering.

Now, to honor Michelle and our time here in London, the following is a collection of some of the most memorable quotes we shared during our stay. Enjoy!

"Mind the Gap!"

"Yo, what the fuck is the exchange rate?"

"Weeee are HERE!" (Posh English accent)

"Dan't fahgit to text meh!" (Scottish accent)

"It's the VICTOOORIANS!!!" (Posh English accent)

"Thank God for that water cooler at Royalty."

"And no, Lance Armstrong did NOT land on the moon." (Posh English accent)

"Fucking, sucking, and bananas!"

"Son, the ants have selected the letter of the day!"

"How you like them apples?!"

"My stomach is talking to your stomach."

"I'm glowing!"


"'Did you pack your bags yourself?' Noooo..."

"Are you not entertained?!"

"Le Charrrrggeee!!" (faux French accent)

"Rough Tiiimes in the Hooood!"

"Hello!! Is it me you're looking for?!!!"

"Tuck and Roll!!"

"C'mon. Let us go to the 'Secret Garden'" (whisper)

"'Tottenham Court Road'" (English accent)

"Keep the hat on. Don't ruin the fantasy."

"Ray, she wants you to 'listen'"

"My momma says you're like a steak to a hungry man."

"Papi, you baaaadddd."

"Do I look pretty?"
"No, bitch, leave me alone."
"That's what you get when you live with a girl"

"It hasn't been a month!!!"


And finally...

"I'm going 2 miss U when U leave."
(Final text message to Michelle from me before she got on her plane)

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Apple: Making South Campus The "Party Hotspot"

It's been awhile since I've gotten on my "gotta have Apple" bullhorn, especially after my iBook began having its fit of problems when I first arrived in London in January, but, after hearing news of the release of Apple's latest product, I can't help but get a tad bit excited. So, what is it that got my brain working? It's not another computer, operating system, or even an iPod-like product. Instead, it's a brand new product called the "Airport Express." It's a relatively simple release, but one that holds so much promise for anyone who wants to throw one of the best houseparties in years for a small amount of money. The basic premise is this; the Airport Express is a wireless networking hub. (which means that it can take your standard broadband internet connection, and broadcast that signal to any computer that can access the internet wirelessly. Result: Computers that can connect to the internet without wires running all over the place.) Along with allowing remote internet access, the thing also has a USB slot in it, therefore making it possible to get any old printer with a USB connector, and attaching it to the network. So, you can print to that old Epson inkjet printer from anywhere in your house, without having your computer connected to it. Now, these two features aren't anything out of the ordinary for people who are initiated to the whole wireless internet world. Really, thus far, of the features I've mentioned, the only thing unique about the Airport Express is that the hub is incredibly small, making it easy to transport in your pocket, if you wanted to.

But, I haven't mentioned the cool feature; it has a stereo-out jack, meaning that you can connect any set of speakers to this thing...

So what does that mean? Well, using your PC or Mac, you can use iTunes, set a playlist, have your computer broadcast the signal by pressing one button on the iTunes program, and, BLAM, you can have your music play from your computer in one room, and broadcast it to speakers in another room, without having nasty wires running everywhere. With iTunes, all you've got to do is set the hot playlist that will last you a four-hour period for a party, press Play, press Broadcast, and your music will be thumping in a completely different area of the house. No more lugging DJ equipment, or lugging your computer with the wack speakers to your party area of choice.

Still don't see the picture? Aight, for everyone at Cuse, remember how South Campus parties are...either the kitchen has to be dominated by stereo equipment, therefore limiting the amount of space needed to serve drinks, or someone has to be brave enough to place their laptop or PC in a precarious position where anyone can touch it, in the living room. (Either that, or a shitload of wires are needed to connect the computer, located upstairs in one of the rooms, and the speaker downstairs) With the Airport set-up, you can free the kitchen of a DJ, or keep your computer upstairs in the room, set up that playlist, lock the room door, and go about your business downstairs, with the music thumping right there. Result? The ill-mutha fucking party, with mega space, and, the best part, one less thing to worry about for the person hosting the party.

Ain't it the shit? :-)

The product costs $129, and is well worth the cost, in my opinion.

ZuZu and Justine: This product is a fucking MUST for our place. We getting it. No questions asked, aight?

Morgan, Pedro, and SpED: You know this is what we've been asking for. Cop this shit, son.

So yeah. That's my rant. Suddenly, going back to Cuse doesn't look so bad now...:-D

Oh, and if you don't have iTunes, at the very least, get with the program. It's free. And it's, flat-out, the shit.

It's All About the Pigeons!

Wow, I didn't know it was actually that serious in NYC where people cared about pigeons getting "kidnapped!" So now, we must all get together and rally, saying in unison, "Save the rhinos, save the elephants, and save the NYC pigeons!"

The New York Times > New York Region > Who's Kidnapping the Pigeons, and Who Cares?

Speaking of pigeons, that bitch Nancy Reagan should've thrown herself in with her husband at the funeral...ugly wench. :-)

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Leave Reagan Dead Already

I guess time really does heal all wounds.

Among conservatives and ignorant Americans, however, time actually makes horrible people turn into heroes.

Is it just me, or has everyone all of a sudden forgotten how much of an asshole President, old geezer Ronald Reagan was? Has anyone bothered to remember the disaster of Reaganomics, the effects of the so-called, "War on Drugs," the massive explosion of the national debt, the fact that he gave Osama Bin Ladin the billions he's now using against us, issued Saddam the weapons he used to invade Kuwait, and, of course, the Iran-Contra affair? With the headlines and the daytime specials being run on the dick, you would think that he was some kind of grand hero. "He made America feel good again." Which America are they talking about? It certainly wasn't the America of the lower and middle classes, that's for sure.

What's even worse is that there are actual lies being promoted on his behalf, like the idea that it was because of Reagan that the USSR collapsed. Bullshit. The Communist government fell because of internal economic pressures that had nothing to do with Uncle Sam or its geriatric leader. As a matter of fact, the US government was in SHOCK that the USSR fell. I guess no one remembers the controversy that underwent the CIA in the late 80's, early 90's, over the fact that all of their "intelligence" never detected the kinds of problems that were going on in Russia. They were so busy worrying about Russia's nukes, when they should've seen that the government had bankrupted itself ages ago. So, scratch that "achievement" off Reagan's record.

Next, we've got the silly idea that Reagan was the most popular President of all time. Bullshit. Clinton left office with higher ratings than he did, and that was after all that crap with Monica, and his impeachment. But, Clinton makes right-wingers boil in anger, so it's not even mentioned.

Connected to that idea, people are actually saying now that Reagan presided over a period of unbridled economic growth in US history. Hello? Are we forgetting Clinton's Presidency, where the US economy boomed the greatest in economic history, and the average yearly earnings for an American worker doubled?

(Note: I'm not in any way saying Clinton was "better" than Reagan, but I am certainly saying that people are getting their facts wrong about Reagan)

So, my point? The man is dead already. Bury his ass, and move the fuck on. If you're going to revisit the past, don't freaking make shit up to make him look good. Let's take his Presidency for what it was; the seed for many of the problems we're going through today. I'm not saying to treat the man like Nixon, but, at the same time, don't treat him like a great war hero or something. Offer memories of the both the good and the bad.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Blog Etiquette Rule #1

With each passing day, scores of people decide that they want to air their ideas, opinions, and stories, and put them on the web in the form of a blog. And while, it's cool that people are going through with this whole movement of getting their ideas out there, someone needs to stop and draw a line in the sand and let people know the rules about blogging. And, so, this is where I stand. One rule at a time, I will let people know exactly what it is they must do to ensure that their blogging experiences will run smoothly, and benefit everyone involved (read: both the reader and the writer). They're simple rules, nothing complicated, but certainly, they are needed, as evidenced from the crap I have seen on blogs from the past couple of days. And this first rule is the most important one.

Rule #1: If you cannot take criticism over the entries you post, do not publish them on the internet.

Makes sense, right? If you decide you want to publicly air your thoughts out to the massive worldwide internet population (or at least, the ones that can speak the same language you have written in), make sure you're doing it with knowledge of the fact that, just as there might be people who like and appreciate what you have to say, there will be people who will not worship the ground you walk on. So, be prepared for criticism. And if you don't like the criticism, then shut down your blog, immediately. There's a lot of give and take when it comes to blogs, and it's very important for other people to have an equal voice on the issues you bring up. Just like you want to make your ideas known, there are plenty of other people who want to make their ideas known about your published entries. So, if you're not going to participate in friendly dialogue, then don't have a blog. Period.

(I would give a link to what I mean, but, that person has since taken their blog down. Good.)

To add to the rule...let's say someone does say something about your entry that you feel you must publish a rebuttal...if you're going to publish a counter-argument, make sure that along with your response, you publish the criticism, one right after the other. For example, in this entry from Jose's blog, I commented on his statement, and he responded to it at the end of the main body of his entry, in an apparent re-edit of his blog. So, to other readers, it looks like he's dismissing my comment before they can even read what I have to say. (If you want to see my comment, scroll all the way down to the big entry, signed by djkibblesnbits) In this situation, if you feel the need to respond within the main body of the entry to a comment, just copy and paste the comment, and then place your response right afterward, thus ensuring that a proper rebuttal has been issued for all to see, and a real dialogue can begin.

Make sense? Cool.

By the way, Jose, I think you took my comment the wrong way...oh, and I'm not picking on you, but you're just the best example of what I mean, with you and your Xanga groupies. :-D

More rules to come the minute I can get another example...

...It Hasn't Been Six Months!!

It really didn't hit me how fast time has flown until I began to start making the "Big Cleanup" to get the flat ready for the eventual handover back to our landlord.


As of today, I have 9 days before I hop on that plane back the NYC. And to be honest with you, as much as I miss everyone, I'm not mentally prepared to get out of London. Maybe it's because my brain hasn't adjusted to the fact that the minute I get on that plane, I won't see London again for a long time. Or maybe it's because I really don't feel like packing all my shit. In either case, I'm in denial that 6 months have passed already, much in the same way that I deny to Michelle that "it hasn't been a month, already, bitch." I was telling Zulay awhile back that as much as it seems as if time has flown by too quickly, at the same time, my last memories of the US seem like faded black and white pictures...memories of another time, another era...another me...

I wonder, if in fact, I have changed as much as I feel I have since I first set foot in Britain. Am I more bitter? More of a dreamer? More cynical? Understanding? Do I "listen?" :-D Or am I the same exact person I was when I left NY?

I guess I won't find out till I get back home. But first things first. I have to pack.

...Michelle is leaving me the 12th. That bitch. We're probably not going to talk to each other for the rest of the summer. 6 months together, alone, is enough. If she starts missing me, she can look at one of the thousand or so pictures she's got of us together from this trip.

Still, I'll miss her. That bitch. :-D

Alas, she's still here...lemme get my licks in while I still can...

"Hey, Michelle, what did the five fingers say to the ass?"



Thursday, June 03, 2004

Blog Quote of the Week

I was laughing my ass off when I saw this little tidbit from my meng Andy's blog...

"Ive been feeling shitty lately, BUT THINGS GET WORSE! While riding justin's bike  i heard a noise so i slowed down. But with my luck I got launched 15 feet because the front wheel popped. SU ambulance saw me and wondered if I dislocated my shoulder. But i just got ass scabs thanks to the african people that fucked the white people back in the days. I appreciate the cushion.

And that's why I'm happy to be me.

Ray: The Happy Latino. :-D

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The Results are in for Miss Universe...

I'm not normally into the whole Miss Universe pageant thing, but, that doesn't mean I don't appreciate a good-looking woman when I see them. And, so, last night, millions around the world got to see the latest edition of the main event showcasing feminine "Beauty." (and nothing else, I'm afraid) Except for Michelle and I, as well as the rest of the UK, of course. Maybe it has to do something with the fact that there wasn't a contestant from the British Isle worth bothering to look at? (There was a contestant from Ireland, though) In either case, we were forced to check out the website of the Miss Universe competition to get bios and pictures of girls who were going to be strutting their stuff. And, judging from the pictures we saw, Michelle and I were all but dead certain that the next Miss Universe was going to be a Latina. I mean, c'mon, there was no competition, so we thought. Michelle's personal pick to win the whole thing was Miss Ecuador, while I was going for Miss Mexico. Michelle even called Giselle back in the States to find out her pick; Miss Puerto Rico. With picks like that, how could Latin America lose?

Well, zoom forward to today, where Miss Austrailia is the next Miss Universe. WTF? Don't get me wrong, the girl looks hot, and I'm sure she had some wonderful things to say (yawn), but, compared to Miss Mexico, Ecuador, PR, or any of the other girls from Latin America? Shit, even Miss Germany was the shit. On the Miss Universe web site, they mention that this year's winner reflects "the modern, updated look of the 21st Century." Damn, I guess last year's winner was "old school" compared with this girl. I'm not going to go as far as Jose might and call it a conspiracy against Latinos, but, it does make you wonder. Donald Trump, the egotistical real estate tycoon, and the chairman of the Miss Universe pageant, was quoted as saying that Miss Aussie is the "most beautiful Miss Universe he has seen in years." Now, c'mon...take a look at last year's winner, Miss Dominican Republic, and compare her to this's no contest...Miss DR wins hands down. I think it all had to do with the fact that Miss DR was no slouch last year, and actually had the "nerve" to speak her mind. Was this the "anti-Miss DR" pick? It sure as hell might be.

But then again, maybe not. After all, it's just a beauty pageant. Nothing major. Regardless of who won, they are all beautiful in their own special way. :-D

Except for Miss USA. The ditz. :-)

EDIT: When I mentioned Jose "might call it a conspiracy against Latinos," I didn't actually mean he would. It was me being sarcastic. Like I said at the end of the blog, it really isn't a big deal, and we're probably all going to forget about this shit within the next 2 weeks. So, yah. Just wanted to say that.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The Top 10 Most-Played Songs of May 2004

May was certainly a "goofy" month by all standards. With classes ending at the end of April here in London, May began with that now infamous journey to Italy, in what was supposed to be my last hurrah in Europe before my scheduled flight home on May 6th. Things changed at the last minute, however, and the next thing I knew, I was back in London, left with more time to get myself into even more mischief and mishap. I started my internship at the Institute of Quality Assurance, and spent the rest of the month wondering what the hell it was that the company stood for. No matter, however, I am doing a good job there, doing whatever it is that I'm supposed to be working on. :-)

So, without further ado, here's my top 10 list of the past month.

10. "Seguroski" by Daddy Yankee, off the "El Cangri" album (new)

9. "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face" by Coldplay, off the "A Rush of Cold Blood to the Head" album (last month, #10)

8. "Secret" by Maroon 5, off the "Songs About Jane" album (new)

7. "Powerless" by Nelly Furtado, off the "Folklore" album (new)

6. "Hello" by Lionel Richie, off the "My Great Ones" album (new)

5. "Everytime" by Britney Spears, off the "In the Zone" album (last month, #1)

4. "No Te Detengas" by Yoskar Sarante, off the "Llora Alma Mia" album (new)

3. "Make Me Whole" by Amel Larrieux, off the "Infinite Possibilities" album (new)

2. "Not Myself" by John Mayer, off the "Room for Squares" album (last month, unranked)

1. "Try" by Nelly Furtado, off the "Folklore" album (new)

As you can see, a lot of these songs are new to the Top-10. Nelly Furtado's "Try," claimed the top spot this month by a large margin. It's just one of them tunes that you can just zone out on and contemplate on your life. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of the songs on this playlist are like that, barring, of course, "Seguroski," which is holding down the rear of the top-10. I'm sure as hell going to be bumping that track, full blast, in whatever car I drive when I get back to the States. Lionel Richie's "Hello" was played so many damn times this month by both Michelle and I on our respective listening devices. It all started off as a joke earlier on in the semester, but has since become a cult favorite between the two of us. So, if you see Michelle and I screaming, "Hello!!! Is it me you're looking for?!!", don't worry about it. We're just crazy.

John Mayer came back this month with one track I just felt like listening to a lot, "Not Myself." We'll see if he can stay on next month. On the John Mayer note, I'm happy to report that I got Michelle and Giselle on the John Mayer "Bandwagon of Self-Reflection." You want to jump on board? Start off by listening to "Comfortable" from his "Inside Wants Out" album, and work your way out. If you're in one of them moods where you feel like looking back on the past a lot, John Mayer is the fucking man.

Oh, I'm adding another award every month on this section of the Musings...

"The Song So Stupid, You Just Can't Help But Laugh" award, which goes to...

"Papi Dijo" by Aventura, off the sub-par, "Love and Hate" album.

"Papi, you baaaaadddd!"

Before I forget, everyone should take advantage of iTMS' new "Download of the Week" feature. Every Tuesday, Apple releases a song that is free for all to download. These songs are usually the kind that you really don't hear a lot on the radio, but, nonetheless, they're actually pretty good. "Try" for example, was one of those, and it's now my number 1 for the month. So, take advantage of the free, and LEGAL downloads!

By the way...5 out of the top-10 are iTMS...I'm trying!

So, until next time, take care, ya'll and remember...

Don't Steal Music. :-D
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